Where are you on the Phygital Maturity Curve?


What is the Phygital Maturity Curve? When you are in the phygital transformation mode, do you know how well you are progressing?

Keep at the back of your mind that digital is merely a medium. What you need is a digital strategy blended with a strong human touch. This is what I define a phygital. Phygital marketing involves merging the worlds (and words) of both physical and digital experiences.

Surprisingly, a Fierce Pharma survey concludes that even in pandemic times, doctors want certain sensory aspects of the real-life.

Very often, doctors associate faces of the pharma reps with their brands. And when you put a face to a brand, it increases credibility. Physical meetings have the personal touch which digital mediums do not offer. Visits from pharma reps build a strong rapport with the doctor and when done right, you nurture brand loyal or at least close to brand-loyal doctors for a long time.

Here are a few golden thoughts of Philip Kotler in “Marketing 4.0”!

  • “We believe that the technology convergence will ultimately lead to the convergence between digital marketing and traditional marketing.””
  • “In a high-tech world, people long for high-touch.”
  • “Help customers on a human level through various stages of the buying process and lifecycle.”

At every platform, in every, article, in every book, Philip Kotler implies the power of the phygital approach.    

Digital and phygital are strategic; not tactical.

While writing this blog, I have started on the premise that no process is perfect; no organization is perfect. There is always room to improve.

The phygital maturity model or curve shows how capable you or your firm are while striving for continuous self-improvement. (Please see the figure.)

Phygital in pharma is in a stage of transformation. Everyone wants to go digital. But digital transformation is much more than implementing more and better technologies. Let me reiterate; it is aligning people, culture and the tasks. And hence the phygital touch.

Before you can know where you are on the phygital maturity curve, you should know where you want to go. And for that, ask yourself two questions:

  1. Where are you are?
  2. Why are you here?

And that will lead you to know where you stand in phygital maturity.  

Let us see the various stages of digital transformation.

  • The Starting Stage – Awareness
  • The Developing Stage – Mobilization
  • The Maturing Stage – Trust

The Starting Stage – Awareness

At this stage, there is very little awareness amongst the employees of the firm of the potential of phygital. There is a lurking fear that digital will take away jobs. This delays the adoption process. You discuss the patient-centric approach in marketing. And this is virtually impossible without phygital intervention.

Ad hoc and infrequent phygital initiatives do exist. Senior leaders are minimally involved. Most decisions are taken by the traditional hierarchy.

Individual people are communicating working to build phygital awareness.

The Developing Stage – Mobilization

Now the vision, a compelling vision, is defined for the phygital transformation.

This vision touches the Human-to-Human Mindset. You start mobilising everyone in the phygital approach.

You start training the field so that they evolve from pharma reps to knowledge workers where they execute the patient-centred strategies. You reinforce the importance and their new roles. You will describe it as very rich. You will rise much above the ‘Please prescribe doctor’ or ‘Doctor, just one prescription per day’ role.

Senior managers from all the functions also get involved in product development. The employees stop working in silo’s. All have only one vision: “Superior patient treatment outcome”.

They assume leadership for phygital strategy execution.  All in the firm have autonomy and are proactive.

The Maturing Stage – Trust

Phygital is now considered as a strategic asset for the firm. Phygital is embedded in work practices.

H2H Marketing and its natural offshoot, the patient-centric approach get internalized with all the functions in the firm – whether R&D, F&D, HR, Finance and more – not just Marketing and Sales.  

Leadership is open and participatory with decentralised decision-making. partners and other external people are connected virtually.

Strategic principles in the phygital approach are based on openness and trust – the foundation of H2H Mindset.

The thrust is now on customer-based brand equity with the ultimate aim of making doctors and patients your brand advocates.

This will reduce the marketing costs and can now redeployed to develop people and enhance their salaries above the industry average.

Where are you on the Phygital Maturity Curve? You keep on plotting periodically and see your progress.  

And never forget: Phygital Transformation is an iterative process! Iterative process is the practice of building, refining, and improving a process, project, product, or initiative. Firms that use the iterative development process create, test, and revise – they’re perpetually and constructively dissatisfied

Written by:

Vivek Hattangadi – Chief Mentor at
PharmaState & The Enablers
PharmaState Blog
This is a platform for people working in the pharmaceuticals industry for Discussions, Jobs, News updates, Professional Profile display space and company business pages. PharmaState DNA is having four pillars: Quality, Transparency, Innovation & Benchmarks.

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